Today I had the privilege of presenting at a professional development day for teachers and school chaplains. The day was run by Crusaders. I presented a 15 minute session where I shared ideas about playing games during lunchtime Christian groups.
I shared 7 of my favourite games as well as some tips and resources for running games at a lunchtime group (Although these games can be played with many different types of groups). Here are some of the things I shared.
Different genres of games
I shared three genres of games that can be played at lunchtime groups.
- Up front games – games where a few volunteers play while others watch.
- Whole group participation led from front – a leader interacts with the group
- Whole group explained form front – A leader explains the game then everyone plays
Within each genre, I shared a number of games that can be played.
Up Front Games
Guess what’s in the can – students guess what type of food is in a tin can with the label pulled off. A great game to play at the start of a session over a number of weeks. The can can have one of 1000 things in it which leads to endless guessing. If you were in attendance today, the can had split pea and ham soup inside.
Taste the difference - For this game you will need Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke and Regular Coke, as well as a blindfold. You will then need one or more kids to come up and discern between the different types of Coke. Firstly blindfold them, and then ask them to taste on of the types of Coke, and tell you what it is. Repeat this for the other types of Coke. The point of this is to demonstrate that by adding or taking away from the Bible, we change what it is really about.
To really emphasise this point, add something crazy (like fish sauce) to some Coke and get them to taste it. That will really make them aware of the difference!
Whole group participation led from front
Dragons egg – A quick game where the group must mimic what the leader does. If they do the wrong action they sit down. There are three actions: Dragons egg (arms make an egg shape), Tiger (hands up like tiger claws), Moose (hands on head like moose antlers).
Cheese or font – A variation on true or false where students must discern whether a given name is a cheese or a font. Use the resource cheeseorfont.com.
Make it or break it – A video resource where students make an O or an X with their hands to show whether someone will make it or break it. A great game to play at the start of your group to get people to come along. Videos can be downloaded for free from stuffyoucanuse.org.
Whole group explained form front
Scissors, paper, rock off – It’ll get crazy.
It’s based around the simple game of scissors, paper, rock. Two people line up against each other, chant scissors, paper, rock, and then have to make a hand action that represents these actions. Flat hand is paper, clenched fist is rock, two fingers out is scissors. Scissors beats (cuts) paper, paper beats (wraps up) rock and rock beats (crushes) scissors.
To start the game, everybody in your group pairs up and plays a game of scissors, paper, rock. The loser of the game now becomes the cheer squad for the winner.
Now all of the winners pair up and play a game while the cheer squads are cheering. The winner then inherits the losers cheer squad. Very quickly, the cheer squads will get very large and eventually there will only be two people left, with two very large cheer squads. This last game can be a best of three.
You can imagine how loud this game gets and how fun it can be for everyone involved! Especially for the last two people who have the whole room cheering out their names!
1 2 3 4 – A game where pairs of students verse each other in a battle of reflexes.
A great one to fill little gaps in a program.
Once everyone is with a partner they then face each other. The leader at the front then slowly calls out “1 2 3 4″.
1, everyone raises their right hand with the pointer finger sticking up.
2, everyone places their left hand out with their palms facing towards the sky.
3, everyone places their right pointer finger on the left palm of their partner.
4, everyone closes their left hand while simultaneously pulling away their right pointer finger.
The aim is to catch your partners finger while ensuring they don’t catch yours.
Repeat as needed.
- Try to link games to the Bible topic as often as possible. If you only have 30 minutes, a 10 minute game which reinforces the main point will be incredibly helpful.
- Limit your group to 3 questions, then they wont ask frivolous questions.
- Stop and reexplain if necessary.
- Have fun!
- calumhenderson.com/youthgroupgames - an online list of around 100 games
- Group Games App - An iPhone and iPad App with over 120 games
- icebreakers.me - A website with a database of around 50 get to know you games
- How to Run A Youth Group Game - A series of posts with tips on how to run youth group games
- stuffyoucanuse.org - Great downloadable resources
- downloadyouthministry.com – Great downloadable resources
- creationswap.com – Excellent visuals
- freehdcountdowns.com – Video countdowns
- 10 other sites – A list of sites to find group games
Thanks to all who came to my sessions today. I had a great time